Instagram Convert

I’ll admit it - I used to be one of those people who said “I just don’t get it” about Instagram. While my One Woman Shop partner, Sara, was counting the days until she could start using Instagram back when it wasn’t available for all devices, I was decidedly holding out.

But since implementing the #OneWomanShopBaton and now #coffeewithaview, I can safely say this: I, Cristina Roman, am officially an Instagram convert.

If you’re also an Instagram junkie, none of facts below will be news to you. But if you aren’t yet on the #InstaBandwagon, here’s why I love it and encourage you to consider using it in your solo business:

It’s not just photos

When I was under the impression that Instagram was “just photos,” I didn’t see much value in it. Once I discovered that you can do quite a lot with the captions and hashtags, it was a game-changer. Now, I periodically search relevant hashtags, like #solopreneur, #solobusiness, and #creativeentrepreneur, to find women who might be interested in the One Woman Shop community.

There’s an incredible amount of engagement

Facebook and I are on rocky terms, but Twitter and I are in it for the long haul. But despite my love of the little blue bird, I have to admit that Instagram posts get far more engagement- both likes and comments- than most Facebook posts and tweets. Research proves it (this Business Insider piece says engagement on Instagram is up to 50 times higher than on Twitter), and so does our experience with One Woman Shop’s Instagram account.

It’s user-friendly

Instagram is ridiculously straightforward. Still haven’t grasped the ins and outs of RTs, DMs, favorites, and lists on Twitter? With Instagram, you “heart” a photo or you comment. That’s all.

It adds a human element to your business

Those behind-the-scenes photos we post of our inbox after an #OWSchat or the #coffewithaview pics from various coffeeshops and poolsides in Antigua, Guatemala? They add a human aspect to our business, which we think is pretty critical as a solo business owner. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the #OneWomanShopBaton, it’s that our community loves a little “inside” peek into the lives of their fellow solopreneurs.

It capitalizes on mobile

I won’t bore you with stats about the increase in mobile usage worldwide, but we all know it’s happening. (The fact that Google has changed its algorithm to emphasize mobile certainly says something). Instagram is nearly 100% mobile-based, which means it effectively capitalizes on the growing mobile trend. Grabbing the attention of potential One Woman Shop members while they’re grabbing a latte or riding in a tuk tuk (as the case may be) = priceless.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

The few downsides of Instagram

You can’t add links on Instagram, so it’s a bit hard to track who is coming to your site because of your Instagram presence. Anyone who finds and follows you on Instagram has to make the extra effort to track you down elsewhere online.

Also, Instagram- more so that other social media networks, in my humble opinion- contributes to the comparison trap that we solopreneurs are often so guilty of entering. Instagram is most often a perfectly curated stream of the highlight reel of people’s lives and businesses; we rarely see the less-than-perfect moments captured.

But speaking of Instagram and transparency! We want to do our part to show what running a solo business is really like, which is why:

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Cristina Roman is the Founder and Co-Head Honcho of One Woman Shop (the awesome site you're on right now). When she’s not working on One Woman Shop, she takes salsa classes, listens to NPR podcasts, drinks too much coffee, and explores her stomping grounds of Antigua, Guatemala. Find her on and over on her coaching website.

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